A total of 107 employees at Mazda North American headquarters in Irvine, California have accepted the company’s buyout offer after a memo was circulated by CEO of North American Operations Jim O’Sullivan in March, according to a report from Automotive News. The number represents approximately 15 percent of Mazda’s U.S. workforce. O’Sullivan described the business conditions being faced by the company as “extremely challenging.”
Mazda finds itself in an ironic position with North American operating losses of $505 million in the first quarter of 2012, while at the same time showing a 22-percent first quarter sales gain over last year.
Following the voluntary buyouts, Mazda U.S., as well as global operations, will undergo a comprehensive restructuring, described by CEO Takashi Yamanouchi as “spectacular structural transformation.”
Whereas most other Japanese brands have a significant North American manufacturing presence, Mazda is heavily reliant on Japanese imports, and after exiting the Flat Rock, Michigan joint-venture with Ford, will import the new Mazda6 sedan from Japan. Further increasing Mazda’s dependence on imports is the Japan-built CX-5, which replaces the U.S.-built Tribute compact SUV.
Company officials say it’s unclear whether further cuts to the company’s U.S. workforce will be necessary after the most recent round of employee buyouts, saying the restructuring needs to happen before the need is determined.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)